Nelson County deputy faces disciplinary hearing over domestic violence arrest

Criminal charges against a Nelson County deputy sheriff have been dismissed, but he still faces a hearing Thursday to determine whether he could lose his job.

Nelson County Fiscal Court will make its recommendation whether Brandon Bryan should face disciplinary action stemming from his arrest Oct. 23 on a domestic violence charge.

According to Bryan’s attorney, Keith Sparks, the case was conditionally dismissed last week. The conditions include that Bryan attend couples counseling, Sparks said.

But Sheriff Ed Mattingly is pressing forward with his effort to dismiss Bryan, Sparks said.

Mattingly couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Bryan will have a hearing before the fiscal court at 9 a.m., and lawyer Michael Coen will be the hearing officer, a capacity similar to a judge’s role. Fiscal court members’ roles are effectively to act as jurors.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Bryan on Oct. 23 on a charge of domestic violence, and Mattingly placed him on unpaid administrative leave.

Police officers are protected by a law known as the “Policeman’s Bill of Rights,” which governs the process for firing an officer.

Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts said Tuesday morning that since the sheriff’s department lacked a merit board, the fiscal court would act in that capacity. He said he didn’t know in this instance whether a hearing is required, but he said Mattingly was approaching the matter in a way to minimize the chances for any future liability.

“He could have taken action immediately,” Watts said. “The sheriff was trying to be cautious.”

Bardstown is facing a $2.7 million lawsuit by an officer who was fired without a hearing.

Watts said it will be up to the sheriff’s discretion whether to follow the fiscal court’s recommendation.

Bryan, a K-9 officer, has been a deputy sheriff since July 2014. His personnel file includes a commendation for rescuing four children who were trapped inside their home by fast-moving floodwaters and a letter from a motorist he assisted with changing a flat tire. He was also recognized for his efforts to target impaired drivers. No reprimands could be found in his file obtained by The Kentucky Standard through an October open-records request.